Cycle hire expansion to Greenwich may be coming

Cycle hire expansion to Greenwich may be coming

The prospect of extending the Santander Cycle hire scheme to Greenwich borough was raised at a full council meeting last night which could see a reversal of long standing opposition to the project from Greenwich Council.

Conservative councillor Matt Hartley raised the issue last night (from the 46 minute mark) having written to Transport for London. Greenwich Cabinet Member Sizwe James responded to say the council are looking into the project but raised affordability issues on the council’s part. The authority have long resisted spending money to extend the scheme, despite substantial income into council coffers from housebuilding and related funds such as Section 106, Community Infrastructure Levy and the New Homes Bonus. Greenwich has consistently been near the top for securing income, and even after the 50 per cent allocation of S106/CIL allocation to fund Crossrail at Woolwich, remain above many London boroughs.

New Homes Bonus is not part of the Woolwich deal, and that scheme brings in £7.3 million next year in addition to previous totals:

  • 2011/12 – £924,000
  • 2012/13 – £3.15 million
  • 2013/14 – £5.8 million
  • 2014/15 – £7.6 million
  • 2015/16 – £10.8 million
  • 2016/17 – £13.5 million
  • 2017/18 – £13.7 million
  • 2018/19 – £12.2 million
  • 2019/20 – £11.1 million
  • 2020/21 – £11.9 million

However as non ringfenced funding available for spending across a wide area, this is normally used to mitigate cuts elsewhere.

Another source of revenue long open but generally not taken is revenue from driving and parking fines. This income is ringfenced to transport projects. The council was one of the very last in London to adopt CCTV enforcement of driving offences such as ignoring no entry signs and parking outside schools, despite the power being available for 16 years. As soon as CCTV fines for driving offences was switched on last September, fines doubled. They are now looking to adopt more CCTV sites which is forecasted to raise £37 million over four years.

In addition, another source of revenue now open is taking enforcement for parking in-house across much of the borough. The authority outsourced it to private company Wings Security on land managed by the Housing Department and ignored government advice in 2014 which resulted in Wings being unable to access DLSA details on car ownership to secure fine revenue. Councils can do this. Ignoring that guidance meant six years without income which if now taken in house can now fund transport improvements.

Click to enlarge – Cycle Highway 4 route

A catalyst for any change is the construction of Cycle Highway 4 from Tower Bridge to Greenwich (with temporary extension either side to London Bridge station and Charlton). Cycle hire currently ends in Southwark borough with no facilities in Lewisham and Greenwich.

So finally, after years of covering these issues and millions gone begging each year, money will be available for numerous street and transport projects alongside a flagship cycle scheme. Whether that actually now happens is the question. Tens of millions in ringfenced income will make the old lines that TfL have to stump up all costs in regards to transport and public realm projects harder to make.

 

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Murky Depths

One thought on “Cycle hire expansion to Greenwich may be coming

  1. Plenty of other community projects could use the money. Santander bikes are taxpayer subsidised on an ongoing basis every year. We at Greenwich Cycle Hire have to survive lockdowns and no subsidy to provide our service as an independent small business for over 10 years. We would lose a fair % of our business which would make keeping trading no longer viable. The detrimental effect would be no hire bikes suitable for the young, short/tall riders, teens, and those who wish to explore the hills and vales we are famous for-Santander gearing cannot handle these for most riders, you need a 15/18/21 gear MTB or Hybrid.

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